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ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing

ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing
Kristen Gillespie


*As the government of President Bashar Assad offers a public face of reconciliation toward protesters while using an iron fist on the ground, fresh video clips suggest that demonstrations and marches are continuing around the country. Despite the growing risk, one thing Arab regimes will never be able to stop are funerals. As long as protesters die, big public funerals will be held, reinforcing the anger of those marching as caskets are carried on the shoulders of protesters. One such example took place on Tuesday in Hama. The person filming announces the date and the names of the two men who were killed, as their caskets are carried through the streets while protesters call for the regime to fall and Assad to leave the country.

*Here's some choppy footage of a nighttime Damascus protest through the streets of the capital. The man filming states the date and adds, "the people want the regime to fall."

*The Facebook group "Syrian Revolution against Bashar Assad" is billing this Friday as the "Fall of Legitimacy" and features an appropriately gritty, blood-stained logo on its home page. Underneath the bloody fingerprint, the Arabic reads: "Bashar was not my president and his government does not represent me." The group also calls for a general strike across the country this Thursday.

*As Yemen continues to spiral into a vacuum of violence and possible civil war, with wildly varying rumors about the extent of the president's injuries from a rocket attack on his compound in Sanaa earlier this month, the official news agency reports the following as a top item: "His Excellency Ali Abdullah Saleh, President of the Republic, sent a cable of congratulations to His Excellency Danilo Turk, the president of the Slovenian republic, on the occasion of the brotherly people's celebration of their National Day."

Here is a 17-minute documentary on the sad plight of Jordanian orphans. Illiteracy, sexual abuse, physical and emotional abuse, deaths of children covered up and being raised with no identity are among the issues discussed by now-adult orphans who grew up in the opaque system. "We didn't have a single happy day in our lives," says Kamel, who described a desperate and persistent hunger from being underfed. "Supervisors are not qualified, neither academically nor psychologically," said a girl whose face was covered in black. Thaer, now a young man, describes through tears how one of his close friends begged the supervisors to take him to the hospital, but they refused and he eventually died of thalessemia, a blood disease.

June 22, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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food / travel

Legalizing Moonshine, A Winning Political Stand In Poland

Moonshine, typically known as “bimber” in Poland, may soon be legalized by the incoming government. There is a mix of tradition, politics and economics that makes homemade booze a popular issue to campaign on.

Photo of an empty vodka bottle on the ground in Poland

Bottle of vodka laying on the ground in Poland

Leszek Kostrzewski

WARSAWIt's a question of freedom — and quality. Poland's incoming coalition government is busy negotiating a platform for the coming years. Though there is much that still divides the Left, the liberal-centrist Civic Koalition, and the centrist Third Way partners, there is one area where Poland’s new ruling coalition is nearly unanimous: moonshine.

The slogan for the legalization of moonshine (known in Poland as "bimber") was initially presented by Michał Kołodziejczak, the leader of Agrounia, a left-wing socialist political movement in Poland that has qualified to be part of the incoming Parliament.

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”Formerly so-called moonshine was an important element of our cultural landscape, associated with mystery, breaking norms, and freedom from the state," Kołodziejczak said. "It was a reason to be proud, just like the liqueurs that Poles were famous for in the past.”

The president of Agrounia considered the right to make moonshine as a symbol of "subjectivity" that farmers could enjoy, and admitted with regret that in recent years it had been taken away from citizens. “It's also about a certain kind of freedom, to do whatever you want on your farm," Kołodziejczak adds. "This is subjectivity for the farmer. Therefore, I am in favor of providing farmers with the freedom to consume this alcohol for their own use.”

A similar viewpoint was aired by another Parliament member. “We will stop pretending that Polish farmers do not produce moonshine for their own use, such as for weddings,” the representative said, pointing out the benefits of controlling the quality. “Just like they produce slivovitz, which Poland is famous for. It's high time they did it legally.”

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